The “Aprils in Paris” Skirt

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetFor the month of April, I was inspired by blooming cherry blossoms which are so spectacular in Japan, Korea and Paris! I wished I was there to see the cherry blossoms in person but work schedule doesn’t allow me to. I have the perfect fabric to join in the season. If I can’t enjoy the view in person, I might as well wear it! The fabric was from the Mauerpark Flea in Berlin, at 3€/m. It feels a lot like a cotton blend of some sort, smooth to the touch, lightweight but heavy enough to fall nicely, just a tad sheer but is negligible. The fabric, however, wrinkles rather easily.

It was tough deciding what to make with it. Initially I wanted to make a cheongsam for this year’s Chinese New Year but I didn’t have time. I could still make one for next year’s. I was also considering a shift dress, pleated flare skirt, pencil skirt, or a fit and flare dress with sleeves. So I scrolled through the millions of photos of cherry blossoms on my Facebook and instagram. It seems like the whole world was in Japan and Korea catching the spectacular sight. Allow me to side track a little here, among all the photos that flooded my social media, this series by Nathan Wu is my favourite! Nathan shot for my prewedding photoshoot (on film!) and I really love his works. His works focus a lot on capturing the natural lighting, to create a dreamy romantic feel. I also love the soft pastel hue in the photos. This series of cherry blossoms, however, is shot on DSLR. Nonetheless, the cherry blossoms were in its peak of the bloom and the lighting during sunset was equally perfect and magical.

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Amazingly beautiful, isn’t it?

Back to what to sew. After looking through the photos, I knew that it gotta be a flare skirt: I would love to twirl among these blooms! So a pleated flare skirt it is! I used a very simple knife pleat.
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For the finishing of the skirt, I used a biased tape instead of a waistband or interfacing.
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As for the hem, it is a baby rolled hem done with my serger. This is my favourite heming for skirts with curved hems!
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It’s about wearing cherry blossoms so why Aprils in Paris? Aprils because it is my birthday month and April is often when spring starts kicking into action. I hope that one day, while I am still young, I will get to travel in April and witness all the blossoms of Spring. And Paris? I am dying to return to Paris, this time with the husband, the city of love, city of lights. I fell in love with Paris in 2012 and I can’t wait to be back! A trip around France would be perfect too. Cherry blossoms do bloom in France and other countries in the temperate region 🙂 Or maybe one day I will go chasing for sakuras in Japan.

Bridesmaids dress for a peacock wedding;

A close friend of mine is getting married in December and the theme is ‘peacock’. We sat down and finalised the colour schemes for decor, flowers and bridesmaids. She will be having a mighty entourage of 14 bridesmaids and we will all be decked in shades of blue and green. While she gave me the liberty to wear any of the colour in the chart (yay!), I picked navy blue initially.

So while in Berlin, I couldn’t resist this lovely piece of lace made from natural fibres at 16€/m. It is sturdy, like Alençon lace, with a beautiful scalloped hem.

The problem is: I only have 1.1m, which is insufficient for a lace-dress like this:

or this, which were what I planned to make.

So I need to reconfigure the design now, of which I need to consider yardage, postpartum body and nursing needs.

#1 Two piece lace top and french dior skirt with lace border ensemble. It doesn’t show in the photo but the idea is there.

#2 Cowl neck and a flare/gathered skirt dress.

#3 I’m also considering other colours such as forest green,

#5 or teal in this design,

#6 or a shorter version of this.
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I would definitely love to make use of this new purchase so that I do not accumulate fabrics (I’m running out of space. Help!). Then again, I’ll be going fabric shopping with the bride-to-be later this week so I’ll see what the fabric market has to offer. Till then!

Kate in Olympian Blue

Kate wore a Stella McCartney’s in what seemed to be a brighter version of Olympian Blue, one of Pantone’s colours for Fall 2012, on a visit to the National Portrait Gallery. The colour cannot be any more apt as she is the official ambassador for the London 2012 Games.

For those who admire her style, adore simple dresses, and would love to own a similar number, it is essentially slightly modified from the basic bodice and skirt block. The natural waist is brought higher, busts darts discarded/transfered to the waist and the usually concealed dart is now visible on the outside. When I first practiced sewing on my own as a newbie, I made this mistake of sewing inside out. Look what happened: it is now a designer detail on Stella McCartney!

Lesson of the day: never be afraid to make mistakes!

(Images from whatkatewore)

‘Oops, I did it again’;

Once again, The Duchess put together such a gorgeous ensemble from Jenny Packham for the Our Greatest Team Rises BOA Olympic Concert in London. I love the colour which complements her skin tone completely, the full lace back detail and the flowy-ness of the chiffon gown. Besides the gown, I also love her partial braided bun which is a refreshing change to her usual hairdos. I’m kind of lost for words and my mind is still pretty blown away. I have been looking at it for a good 10mins amidst revision for a non-graded exam tomorrow.

(Images from google)

L’inspiration française

While blog surfing, I chanced upon this ‘Parisienne’ Dress which was a love at first sight! I love the silhouette, its clean lines and the tulip skirt. Bonus points for being called the parisienne dress! I can do away with the sleeves to make it a little friendlier to the weather in SG.

After some googling, I found out that it’s from Burda Style 8/09, #128. I googled more and found these designs too.

Burda Style 8/09, #117: a dart-less! nude pink-ish blouse with frills

Burda Style 8/09, #129: a black laced blazar
(Both photos credit to loweryourpresserfoot)

Now I want a copy of it! If anyone has a copy (I don’t mind if the patterns are all used. I just want the lookbook pages) and is willing to let it go, or knows of anywhere I can get it in SG or online, please let me know!

In The Mood for Cheongsam

The boyf surprised me with a trip to the National Museum for “In The Mood for Cheongsam” exhibition! You cannot imagine my excitement! This exhibition showcases quite a variety of cheongsams from the 1920s-present, among which includes pieces worn by ‘powerful’ women in Singapore. It is very inspiring and informative on the evolution of the traditional Chinese dress over the decades in our hometown.

Cheongsams from the early days

It’s all in the details!

Lace and georgette

A few of my favourites: funky prints, floral, polka dots, and lace.  The lace number is by Tan Yoong!

Zip detailing by Alexander McQueen

To quote a friend, “I feel zip does not do justice to a cheongsam. It took the ‘delicate-ness’ out of what cheongsams are suppose to represent. Full marks for innovation though.” I do agree with her but it also daunt upon me that cheongsams have evolved and reflect the society too: today’s women are not as delicate any more! In the past, the XX chromosomes were expected to be gentle, feminine, ‘delicate’ … and cheongsams were meant to bring every bit of these qualities.

After touring the exhibition, there is an activity corner designed for the little ones. There is a section on various types of fabrics used (I passed the quiz!), another where kids can trace and colour traditional chinese motifs and finally a model where you can unleash your creativity by styling it.

Here’s what I’ve styled. She’s just short of a pair of pearl earrings.
The other pairs available doesn’t suit the look I have in mind! 

I was very overwhelmed and a little distracted by every single piece featured. I should be making another trip down to be inspired once again!